Book on the Enlightenment

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CaptainMarvel

Puritan Board Freshman
Can anyone recommend a good book on the enlightenment? I'm looking for something that would summarize the basic ideas of the enlightenment and discuss their impact on society, including hopefully a summary of some of the major enlightenment thinkers. Thank you.
 

arapahoepark

Puritan Board Post-Graduate
Not sure if it is what you are looking for but there is a book called The 40 Most Influential Christians by Daryl Aaron that touches on Enlightenment subjects.
 

RamistThomist

Puritanboard Clerk
It also depends on which angle of the Enlightenment we are talking about. The French Enlightenment was atheistic and revolutionary (but I repeat myself). The German Enlightenment, while skeptical, and if you can ignore some silly remarks by Kant on the need for democracy, was often conservative. The Scottish Enlightenment was hit-or-miss. Hume, while an agnostic, was probably a political conservative.

I recommend at least for starters Leo Damrosch's The Club and his bio on Rousseau.
 

jwright82

Puritan Board Graduate
It also depends on which angle of the Enlightenment we are talking about. The French Enlightenment was atheistic and revolutionary (but I repeat myself). The German Enlightenment, while skeptical, and if you can ignore some silly remarks by Kant on the need for democracy, was often conservative. The Scottish Enlightenment was hit-or-miss. Hume, while an agnostic, was probably a political conservative.

I recommend at least for starters Leo Damrosch's The Club and his bio on Rousseau.
A little off subject but didn't Kant write an essay on the Enlightenment or something like "What Is Enlightenment"?
 

bookslover

Puritan Board Doctor
It also depends on which angle of the Enlightenment we are talking about. The French Enlightenment was atheistic and revolutionary (but I repeat myself). The German Enlightenment, while skeptical, and if you can ignore some silly remarks by Kant on the need for democracy, was often conservative. The Scottish Enlightenment was hit-or-miss. Hume, while an agnostic, was probably a political conservative.

I recommend at least for starters Leo Damrosch's The Club and his bio on Rousseau.

I read The Club and thought it was terrific (being a Samuel Johnson fan anyway). I haven't read the Rousseau volume. Damrosch has a new biography, just out: Adventurer: The Life and Times of Giacomo Casanova (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2022).
 

bookslover

Puritan Board Doctor
Here's a fairly recent book: The Enlightenment & the Book: Scottish Authors & Their Publishers in Eighteenth-Century Britain, Ireland, & America by Richard B. Sher (Chicago; The University of Chicago Press, 2006). Possibly not exactly what you're looking for, but it might help anyway.
 

greenbaggins

Administrator
Staff member
Ritchie Robertson's new history of the Enlightenment as the pursuit of happiness is well worth the read, secularist though he is.
 

Tychicus

Puritan Board Freshman
Ritchie Robertson's new history of the Enlightenment as the pursuit of happiness is well worth the read, secularist though he is.
Kevin DeYoung reviewed it sometime back:

I have been listening to his lectures on the Enlightenment. It seems he taught a course on the Enlightenment and moral philosophy at RTS , lectures 10-20 were uploaded on YouTube(the first ten I couldn't find, seems like they weren't recorded at all):
 

LadyCalvinist

Puritan Board Junior
Over 30 years ago, when I was a graduate student in history, I had Peter Gay's 2 volume work on the Enlightenment. He is not a Christian.
 

RamistThomist

Puritanboard Clerk
For original sources, the best early critique of the Enlightenment is by Johann Herder (linked below).

A good study on the Enlightenment is Isaiah Berlin's Three Critics of the Enlightenment.

The classic exposition is, as noted above, Peter Gay's work.
 
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